Windfarm radar breakthrough ends aviation fears

A ground-breaking deal between the wind energy industry and the UK Ministry of Defence has removed a significant obstacle to the development of offshore wind, by overcoming the interference moving turbine blades cause to air defence radar systems.

Windfarm developers and the Government will jointly fund the installation of new radar technology to monitor the Greater Wash, enabling the MoD to lift objections to five windfarms.

The agreement to acquire a Lockheed Martin TPS-77 radar follows tests conducted in Denmark in 2008, and a subsequent extensive modelling exercise undertaken by Serco, which demonstrated that the system is able to consistently filter the movement of offshore turbines from other air and seaborne activity.

Serco, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, will initially install a TPS-77 at Remote Radar Head (RRH) Trimingham to coincide with the opening Scira’s 88-turbine wind farm at Sheringham Shoal, around 20km off the coast of North Norfolk.

The costs were negotiated jointly between industry and The Crown Estate as the seabed owner, DECC, the government Ministry for energy policy, the MoD as the principal objector to the planned Greater Wash development and Serco as the radar system provider. Similar agreements are now likely for other schemes.

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